Gran Cantina is not an expansion of .
That is the first thing James Cavanaugh wants to get cleared up about his plans for 9 South St., which until recently housed the cafe.
The second thing the longtime Morristown business owner wants known about his Mexican concept is it's going to be something the town has never experienced before.
But, it has to be approved by the town first.
While Cavanaugh, business partner Darrell Remlinger and their attorney Robert Williams , Cavanaugh is optimistic the place-to-place liquor license transfer has legal footing to be approved. Right now, the license for his Iron Bar already occupies part of 9 South St.—its basement.
If approved, Cavanaugh—who owned and operated for 30 years what is best known as Jimmy's Haunt on the spot currently occupied by on South Street—said Gran Cantina should hopefully be open by spring.
The Chester resident said Morristown lacks an authentic Mexican restaurant where diners can get a cocktail to go with their meal. "We thought it would be a good idea," he said.
Since , Cavanaugh, who owns the building, said he has received a number of offers from prospective tenants. They have primarily been pizzeria concepts, which he said, "Morristown has more than enough of those."
So, he and Remlinger—who first joined Jimmy's Haunt as a manager in 1996 and now is co-owner and manager of Iron Bar—decided it would be best to take on the potential project themselves.
On a sample menu, Gran Cantina is expected to offer traditional Mexican and TexMex standbys like fajitas, burritos and tacos, as well as American fare like burgers and wings. An expanded kitchen would be built in the 2,800-square-foot structure, allowing about 1,500 square feet of dining space.
Cavanaugh said, though his Iron Bar has only been open a few months, it already has proven itself an upstanding member of the business community. "I think we are a step above whatever else has been talked about," he said in regard to complaints about downtown businesses—primarily bars. "A lot of money has been invested in this."
"We have been cooperative, open-minded and we react when issues up," Remlinger added.
Regarding the proposed Gran Cantina concept, the manager said, "it is definitely different than anything else in town.
"It's not another bar, it's not another establishment," he said. "The whole concept is something completely different."
With at least another two months to go before the proposed is scheduled to go before the town, Cavanaugh said, "don't paint us with the same brush.
"We have confidence in our group in making this a success."